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On board the ‘Fiona’

Edward Said, 19 December 1991

In Search of Conrad 
by Gavin Young.
Hutchinson, 304 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 09 173524 6
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... in Heart of Darkness. A distinguished journalist, and one of the finest travel writers around, Gavin Young has now made his contribution to Conradiana by following the man’s footsteps in the South China, Java and Banda Seas. Young visits Bangkok, Singapore and Jakarta, but especially winds his way around ...

Blacks and Blues

E.S. Turner, 4 June 1987

The Life of My Choice 
by Wilfred Thesiger.
Collins, 459 pp., £15, May 1987, 9780002161947
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Worlds Apart: Travels in War and Peace 
by Gavin Young.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 09 168220 7
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... suspect him of a proud pose. By coincidence, Thesiger’s book appears along with Worlds Apart by Gavin Young, of ‘slow boat’ fame, who once aspired to follow him into the Empty Quarter of Arabia, but settled instead for a stint in the lands of Sumer and Babylonia, which yielded him a book on the Marsh Arabs too. ...

Sevens for Gavin Ewart (1916-1995)

Alan Brownjohn, 4 January 1996

... don’t, these days – Another sage thought you had – need to push their careers    By dying young. But cell and virus and blood-clot Might have waited in some cases until four score    (You had six years of the Second War, and then Two decades of silence). And surely given us,    For a little longer, your memory: of the famous Far younger than we ...

Dickens and I*

Gavin Ewart, 20 November 1980

... of blouses, sweaters, blazers; felt but not seen. But something feminine swirls into my brain. Young eyes cut clear as lasers. It’s like the scent of roses from a bed where, still unpruned, the roses, jostling, cluster and of the senses only one is fed but that’s enough to soothe the sensual luster – sex is that killing air, I tell you, buster! But ...

Three Poems

Gavin Ewart, 3 September 1981

... Black Spring Spring brings the joys of love to me and you. It stimulates the young child-murderer too. Bad News in April 1981 Robert Garioch, the best poet in Scotland, is dead. The wit stops coming from that remarkable singing head. A Rough Ballad of Old Chicago Hemingway was a Wound-and-the-Bow writer but his m ...

‘John Betjeman: A Life in Pictures’

Gavin Ewart, 6 December 1984

... Someone anti-life, grim, retiring! Less of the stately homes, horses, hunting, landowners, the young drunk rich ones so self-admiring. But John was ‘trade’ – don’t let’s forget it – he had to push to get there. No ancestors, no crest-embossed look.8 The world came, large, wild – he met it, like all loners, with that genuinely troubled ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: I was William Hague’s Tutor, 17 July 1997

... and parking always available even on the high street. I am there to see my old school friend, Gavin Stewart, now editor of the East London Daily Dispatch, the paper made famous by Biko’s friend, Donald Woods. The Dispatch is housed in an old building with cast-iron Victorian balustrades around its roomy verandahs, aged wooden staircases and the sort of ...

Shite

Karl Miller, 2 March 1989

A Disaffection 
by James Kelman.
Secker, 344 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 436 23284 7
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The Book of Sandy Stewart 
edited by Roger Leitch.
Scottish Academic Press, 168 pp., £15, December 1988, 0 7073 0560 8
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... into crisis. He is lonely. His aged parents bore him (‘Are all parents boring?’). His brother Gavin frets him, and he has a longing for Gavin’s wife, together with a more urgent one for a teacher at the school, Alison Houston, who could be felt to lead him on a bit but doesn’t want to have a ‘relationship’ with ...

Common Sense

Sally Mapstone: James Kelman, 15 November 2001

Translated Accounts 
by James Kelman.
Secker, 322 pp., £15.99, June 2001, 0 436 27464 7
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... into his head immediately’. In a similarly deadpan tone the narrator remarks that he thought the young man threw a pumpkin, but others have claimed it was a watermelon. The narrator’s inaction at the time, shared with the others who observed the events, segues into a reluctance to make much of the acknowledged political and analytical potential of the ...

Diary

David Thomson: ‘Vertigo’ after Weinstein, 21 June 2018

... or controlling terms. Then he is hired by a rather implausible old acquaintance. Scottie knew Gavin Elster (isn’t there pomp and subterfuge in that name?) at Stanford. Elster heads a shipping company with lush premises on the waterfront. He seems rich and secure. This is a classmate who has far excelled Scottie in life. He’s American, but the actor ...

At Notre Dame de Lorette

Gavin Stamp: The International Memorial , 20 November 2014

... inaugurated by François Hollande. The International Memorial is just that: the 580,000 names of young men who died in Artois and French Flanders in the Great War include everyone, listed in alphabetical order – French, German, Canadian, Indian, Australian, British, Czechs, Slovaks and others – regardless of nationality. In comparison, the British ...

Sabotage

Gavin Millar, 13 September 1990

Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles 
by Frank Brady.
Hodder, 655 pp., £18.95, January 1990, 0 340 51389 6
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If this was happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 312 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79630 5
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Norma Shearer 
by Gavin Lambert.
Hodder, 381 pp., £17.95, August 1990, 0 340 52947 4
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Ava’s Men: The Private Life of Ava Gardner 
by Jane Ellen Wayne.
Robson, 268 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 86051 636 9
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Goldwyn: A Biography 
by Scott Berg.
Hamish Hamilton, 579 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 241 12832 3
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The Genius of the System: Hollywood Film-Making in the Studio Era 
by Thomas Schatz.
Simon and Schuster, 514 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 671 69708 0
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... some two hundred pages – to Welles’s career before the movies. He reminds us that the young Welles was an immense theatre and radio star by the mid-Thirties. Radio had a regular peak audience of 60 million. Double-bills were interrupted in cinemas at 7 p.m. while a large console radio was set up in front of the screen, so that audiences could ...

Poetry and Soda

Barbara Everett, 5 February 1981

The Penguin Book of Unrespectable Verse 
edited by Geoffrey Grigson.
Penguin, 335 pp., £1.75, November 1980, 0 14 042142 4
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The Penguin Book of Light Verse 
edited by Gavin Ewart.
Penguin, 639 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 0 14 042270 6
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... other good poems he likes that could truthfully be said to do more than mention localities. Gavin Ewart is a very good and very readable writer of verse which, if not ‘light’, is not heavy either. If, therefore, his Penguin Book of Light Verse is less wholly pleasurable, even less admirable, than Geoffrey Grigson’s now nearly ten-years-old but ...

Diary

Chris Mullin: The Birmingham Bombers, 21 February 2019

... men involved, who are now dead (I am about to do so), but the man described in my book as the ‘young planter’ is still alive, and I will not name him. Within four hours of the explosions on 21 November five Irishmen – Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, Billy Power and Johnny Walker – were arrested at Heysham in Lancashire as they got off a ...

Diary

Gavin Francis: NHS in Crisis, 2 March 2017

... correspondence and results, there was a knock at the door – Pearl again. ‘I’m really sorry Gavin, there’s another visit. Ellen MacIvor’s carer has phoned, says she’s confused.’ I knew Ellen MacIvor a little better than Mary Robertson. She was 95 years old – born in 1922 – and somehow was still managing to live alone on the second floor of ...

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